Dear Wendy: “Is It Cheating If It Was During A Break?”

It’s time again for “Shortcuts,” wherein I answer readers’ letters in two sentences or less. Sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss “cheating” during a break, sexting, and society’s marriage expectation.

I have been with my boyfriend for eight years. Two years ago, I found a photo of him and a girl I despise, which he promised he’d explain the next day. Well, I didn’t hear anything from him again for three months. I tried contacting him through email, text, phone calls, but he didn’t get in touch with me until after my birthday. When we finally spoke, I informed him I’d gone out on dates while we were apart, and that things happened and they are none of his concern, since I hadn’t heard from him in three months. Now two years later, he’s heard through a mutual ex-friend of ours some details of my dates during those three months and he’s calling me out for “cheating” even though I have been 100% faithful to him before and after he went missing in action. I told him that when he chose not to speak with me for so long, that was him ‘officially’ breaking up with me and I don’t feel like I cheated on him. Does he really have a right to be angry? — Cheat-free

No, he has absolutely no right to call you out for cheating. By the way, did he ever explain that photo you found of him and the girl you despise?

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year. I am completely committed to him but I don’t know if he feels the same. I’ve caught him “sexting” with other girls a few times and I really don’t know what I should do! All I think about doing it telling him he isn’t allowed to talk to those girls anymore! I can’t really trust him, but I wish I could. Is there any way I can fix this tension between him and me? — Busted Trust

Yes, you can — and should — break up with him. He doesn’t respect you or the relationship you have.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend since high school (seven years, four living together). Our relationship is really fantastic, but when people find out how long we’ve been together, nearly 100% of the time their reaction is: “OMG are you getting married?!” At first, I just laughed it off … and then realized they were staring at me, waiting for an answer. We’ve always planned on getting married at some point, it just hasn’t felt like the right point yet. But now I’m freaking out. I’ve found out that most people do not wait so long to get engaged, and also that a ridiculous number of couples break up when one person goes to law school (and I start this fall). It doesn’t seem like the right time to get married, which I view from an entirely financial standpoint. But if my relationship is going to get messed up without it, then I’ll sign the papers today. Is this something I’m supposed to do at this point? Is my relationship going to end if we don’t get married at this time? — Not Ready

The only reason your relationship would end is if you decide it’s no longer working for you. If you’re in a hurry to make that decision, marrying when you aren’t ready, and only because it’s what you think society expects of you, sure is a quicker way of getting there.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.